American Invests in Its Future With First Deliveries of New Boeing 737-800s
Despite Challenges, American Continues to Invest for the Long-Term With Fuel- Efficient Aircraft
Monday April 13, 2009, 12:30 pm EDT
CHICAGO and TULSA, Okla., April 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- American Airlines today took an important step toward a significant investment in its long-term future by welcoming two Boeing 737-800 aircraft into its fleet on the eve of their maiden passenger flights.
As American begins the process of replacing its MD-80 fleet, employees, customers and public officials commemorated the arrival of its first new 737- 800s since December 2001 with ceremonies at company facilities in Chicago and Tulsa. The new airplanes, which go into service April 14, are the first of 76 737-800s that will arrive through the first quarter of 2011.
"Even as we battle many significant challenges, we must remain focused on our long-term future, which is what these new 737s represent," said Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle. "While our MD-80s remain an important part of our fleet and continue to serve our company and customers well, our new 737s are a vital investment that will benefit our customers, employees, shareholders and the communities we serve. They will help keep our product competitive while offering cost, environmental and operational benefits.
"With today's economic realities causing many companies, including American, to cut back, we must continue to find ways to control costs and boost revenues. While it is a big decision to spend money on new airplanes, especially in tough times, not doing so could be more expensive in the long run."
Arpey noted that the two locations chosen for today's ceremonial events also hold a special significance.
"Chicago, which is one of our vital network hubs, is where these two new airplanes -- and many other new 737s -- will be based," Arpey said. "Tulsa is one of our important maintenance bases and employment centers, and, unlike other airlines that outsource maintenance work and jobs, it is where our own employees will maintain and service these new airplanes for many years to come. This delivery represents the very essence of Made in America, Maintained by American."
AMR employs 7,000 people in Tulsa and 10,000 in Chicago, contributing $14.6 billion to the local economies of the two metropolitan areas.
In spite of an increasingly challenging credit market, Arpey noted that American has been fortunate to be able to secure financing commitments to cover the majority of its expected 737 deliveries. "With the financing commitments we have in place, we now have the ability to finance our expected 737 deliveries well into the fourth quarter of 2010, and we continue to pursue a number of additional financing opportunities," Arpey said.
The new airplanes, which will carry 160 passengers, offer many cost, environmental and customer benefits. They include numerous upgrades and enhancements from previous airplanes and a configuration aimed at improving the passenger experience and operational efficiency.
"Boeing is pleased to be a part of this new chapter in American Airlines history and we look forward to seeing these state-of-the-art airplanes in the skies," said Kevin Schemm, Vice President, North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We're proud of the relationship we have with American Airlines, and we're excited about the superior product American's passengers will soon enjoy."
New First Class and coach seats will provide improved living space and comfort. In addition, new "big bins" for overhead storage will significantly increase passenger cabin luggage storage capacity by allowing roll-aboards to be loaded wheels first, increasing standard roll-aboards storage capacity by almost double.
Inflight entertainment will include 20 drop-down LCD monitors mounted in passenger service units under overhead storage bins. The new planes have 110V AC power available to all passengers -- a first in American Airlines fleet history and a customer convenience that ends the need for power adapters. Travelers can now plug in laptops and other portable electronic equipment just as they would at the home or office.
There is one power port per seat in First Class and two ports per three seats in coach class. Over time, American plans to equip these aircraft with AirCell's Gogo® Inflight Internet service, which will allow passengers to surf the Web, check e-mail, and send instant messages conveniently from the air.
The 737-800s will burn 35 percent less fuel than an MD-80 on a seat-mile basis. They will also be outfitted with Blended Winglets(TM), similar to those installed on American's current fleet. These wing tip extensions provide significant operating, fuel efficiency and environmental benefits, such as reduced noise on takeoff and approach and lower emissions through lower cruise thrust.
The new deliveries will be added to American's current fleet of 77 737- 800s and are intended to eventually replace American's fleet of approximately 270 MD-80s.